Driving Through the Land of Enchantment
There is something strange that happens when you enter New Mexico. The skies become a bit more blue, the clouds are somehow whiter and fluffier and the land is alive!
I spent a lot of time in New Mexico when I was a child. It was our go-to place for adventure. I learned how to ski in Ruidoso, and a favorite haunt of my mothers was Old Mesilla. We have dozens of portraits taken in the town square there. We would go exploring through the woods of New Mexico and had a picnic log on the side of the road somewhere. I don’t even know what town it was near, or what county it was in but somehow, mom always found the log. She has a 6th sense about these things. I am sure it was on some ranch but mom would pull over to the side of the road, and we’d all go traipsing up the hill to the picnic log and enjoy the day. Once finished, we’d pack everything up, walk back to the car and end up most times in Old Mesilla. 🙂 This trip, there was no time for nostalgia. We needed to get across this state!
With a grimace and a wince we passed through Navaho and Zuni country without a single stop. As we drove through Navaho territory, I imagined all the incredible works of art just waiting to be discovered by the right person – me of course. And then the Zuni; jewelry makers famous for their inlaid designs with turquoise, coral and more. We waved good-bye to Santa Fe and Taos calling to us from the North and kept driving forward. We didn’t explore the pueblo’s or visit any ruins. Day three was all about getting across New Mexico. I forget that New Mexico is one of the largest states in the United States, the 5th in fact. We shouldn’t expect to be able to fly through in a few hours. Still, as we drove the land of enchantment shared some of it’s treasures. Bluffs in a rainbow of color going from deep maroon, to umber to gold at their crest. In the foothills of the Taylor Mountains, like a mystic jewel sitting on top of a mesa is the Pueblo of Laguna. What a tease. The white of Laguna Church can be seen high above the rest of the town and it invites you – “Come, see what treasures I hold!”. This is so not fair when you have no time to stop.
You enter mountains as you get close to Albuquerque and I-40 winds you through the city and into the pass through the Sandia Mountains. We continued driving thinking we would stop in a small town by the border. As the sun started to set, a storm cell started really developing to the North of us. Amazing tendrils reaching from the skies to pin the earth below. It was amazing to watch but I am so glad we were not in the middle of it!
It had been a long day. The place we thought we could stop for the night ended up being little more than a gas station. We grabbed some food and watched the sunset.
Little guy was such a trouper on this long day but so tired. After dinner he finally fell asleep in the van like I had been trying to get him to do for miles. These first few days were the worst I think as we tried to make time when we were so tired already.
Another state down – we found a place to stay in the first town that had a hotel in Texas. I think we all were asleep within seconds of our heads hitting the pillows. What a long day. Thank you New Mexico for some beautiful scenery. I’d like to come back and visit some day soon!